Submission Plus Trust Equals… Joy?
As Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss share in True Woman 201, the word "submission" is "thorny." It is such a broad topic, so for the sake of clarity, here is the focus of this post.
Submission is an attitude of the heart that trusts in God.
I don't know about you, but this statement convicted me.
I think we can often deceive ourselves and outwardly "obey" God's instructions without having a heart that really trusts God. Like me, you've probably done this . . . Maybe your husband or your boss asks you to do something. You perform the task, but as you're carrying it out, you're saying to yourself, "I don't think he knows what he's doing," or "This isn't going to work," etc. Obedience, yes; trust, no.
We've all been there. And many times we do the exact same thing with God. We fail to trust His "track record" of faithfulness and His character of loving kindness. As our trust faints, our submission to God becomes a task or a duty because we're forgetting the Person (Jesus) that's behind the call to submission.
Recently, my trust and submission were put to the test through a major "storm" in my life. Through unbelievable and uncontrollable circumstances, I knew the Lord was asking me to trust Him and to submit to His will in the way I was responding to my situation, even though I did not understand why or how He could redeem it. As I've walked through this trial, I've realized a few things:
- We can trust God when we understand the character of WHOM we are trusting.
- Our trust has to be rooted in qualities of the God of whom we serve. He is good and full of compassion. His mercies are new every morning. He is holy and righteous. He is Lord. He is Redeemer. When trials come and the "rubber meets the road," do we believe that? Do our actions reflect accurately the God we serve?
As I've walked through this storm, the Lord kept drawing me back to His character as described in the book of Revelation. Consider these attributes of our God (and check out Rev. 1, 5, 19, 22):
- He is the conquering King.
- He is the Lord of lords.
- He is the Man on the white horse who is called "Faithful" and "True."
- He is the Judge and the Ruler of kings on earth.
Once we are captured with the magnificence of who our God is, there is joy in trusting Him and arranging ourselves under His leadership. Saying "not my will, but Your will be done" becomes a life-long adventure of watching Christ work in us and in the midst of our situations.
There is joy in submitting when our heart fully trusts God.
There is joy in submission when we understand the hope of the gospel. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we can say "no" to self, and say "yes" to God's will and follow Him in humble obedience (1 Pet. 2:24).
There is joy in submission when we realize that because Jesus is big enough, we do not have to be god. We do not have to be in control. There is no room in the trinity for us. We do not (and cannot) fix everything. We can trust the one who "holds all things together" (Col. 1:16–18).
There is joy in submission when we comprehend that God's goal is to conform us into Christ-likeness through our submission to His leadership (Phil. 3:10).
Submitting to God is a courageous act. Trusting Him with the deepest parts of our hearts brings true peace and joy in the midst of a tumultuous world. When we trust God and willingly submit to Him, we are following in Jesus' steps and showing the "not my will" attitude of Jesus that won our salvation. And as we trust God, we point a watching world to a trustworthy, good God.
As you think about the topic of submission, consider the way in which you trust the Lord with your heart, your circumstances, and your relationships. Evaluate where a lack of trust has created a lack of submission in your relationship to the One who loves you and who has freed you from your sins by His blood (Rev.1:5).
Maybe you're struggling with submitting to God because you're afraid of what He'll ask of you. Ask God for a heart that is willing to say, "Yes, Lord." Ask Him to capture your heart with His incredible character. Then ask for the grace to trust Him more.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.
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